In this video, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and painting contractor Rich O’Neil show how to properly prepare a house for paint.
Steps for prepping an exterior for paint
- Set up scaffolding for easy access to the house wall.
- Staple a plastic tarp to the lowest course of siding to catch paint chips.
- Don dust mask and safety glasses, then use a pull-style paint scraper to scrape loose paint from the siding. Tungsten-carbide-blade scrapers stay sharper longer, but steel-blade scrapers are cheaper and can easily be re-sharpened with a file.
- Always scrape in the direction of the wood grain to prevent damaging the siding.
- Remember to scrape paint from the lower lip (butt edge) of the siding, too.
- Remove any remaining paint with an electric random-orbit sander fitted with 24-grit disk. Connect the sander to a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Keep the sander moving at all times to avoid sanding a depression into the siding.
- Feather-sand the edges of sound, well-adhered paint down to bare wood.
- Sand rust from nail heads, then set and caulk the nail holes.
- Use a molding scraper to remove paint from convex shapes.
- Chemical strippers can be used to loosen paint from intricate moldings.
- An electric infrared paint stripper uses heat to release the paint’s adhesion to the siding.
- Hold the infrared stripper in place for one minute, then immediately scrape off the softened paint.